Mainly Eats and where to stay
14.07.2019 - 21.07.2019 9 °C
Started at hostel Rayuela: nice small place in San Telmo. Good location and clean with friendly staff with a balcony and Netflix room. Within the first few minutes of arriving was treating by a friendly Texan that said one of the owners was coming to BBQ Argentinian style for the hostel and asked me to sign up. I agreed somewhat reluctantly because I was excited about so many places I wanted to visit here in Buenos Aires. However, I do like to socialize and wanted to meet everyone around the place. So, I put away my things and headed out to explore the town. Sadly, it was Sunday and most things were closed, so I took the opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and surrounding parks. Upon returning to the hostel kind of hungry having not done my usual snacking I was informed we’d be eating about 9pm. I normally like eating late just hasn’t been the norm as of recent countries I was traveling through. I thought about heading back out to grab a snack before dinner, however I didn’t see anything quick in the hours I was walking and BA is a bit fancy with not a lot of street food out and about. It smelled really good and the owner promised wine, so I bided my time doing some research about future travels. I tried to make my usual in roads with everyone around the place. No one seemed real responsive. No one was rude or didn’t answer, just didn’t seem to have the regular enthusiasm I’m used to. The same attitude carried through dinner except for 1 girl from England. Conversation at dinner wasn’t awkward but it wasn’t what it should have been either despite my numerous attempts to involve everyone. Anyway, on to the dinner. Boy, I am glad I didn’t pass this meal up. It was easily the best meal I had in Buenos Aires. There were 5 courses! Yeah, 5 courses at a hostel dinner for $300 AP (about $8US). The first course was Choripan. Beef sausage on a garlic buttered soft bread. A salad was served with this course with an absolutely divine sesame dressing that the guy from Texas made. I can’t say enough about how perfect the sausage was cooked with a sweet glaze and the bread left nothing to be desired. It left me wanting for more. Then came the side of beef ( I wish I would have asked more about each course, it like I said conversation was a bit weird at dinner). Perfectly charred on the outside and there were a variety medium rare pieces to well done. The owner really knew his audience. I took one of the rarer pieces and it was tasty, well seasoned (although he told me he didn’t even salt and pepper it) and very tender. Next came the short ribs, again perfect then came the pork shoulder which I abstained from as most know by now I don’t eat pork any longer. Last came the mashed sweet potatoes mixed with honey and some of the glaze used for the sausage in the first course. Bravo is all I can say. That dinner cast a shadow over the rest of my culinary experiences in BA. Although there was nothing wrong with the hostel, I still chose to move the next day. The only real complaint was all the beds were covered in plastic and fairly small so quite noisy in a room of 8. The room had heat I just felt the need to leave even after the great dinner.
Now at hostel Che Juan: this place is like a dream hostel. It’s only a month old or the price wouldn’t be as low as it is I am sure. Everything you could want in a place. Great location, everything is new. Beds are super comfy with great pillows. Plenty of bathrooms and showers that have amazing pressure and temperature. Plugs, lights, and curtains at every bed. Free filtered water, A work room, Netflix room and the internet works good from the room. It’s 2 blocks from the metro in a great part of town close to Madero, ferry ports, parks, bars, restaurants etc. Everyone in the place was truly excited to be there and couldn’t believe how nice and well thought out everything was.
The Ferry to Colonial del Sacramento or Montevideo Uruguay: there are two companies. I checked all the deal sites and the cheapest round trip was $84US. I went directly to the companies site www.colonialexpress.com and got a round trip for $65.50US. Apparently there are even better deals if you go to the counter in person. The bus is $35US each way and is an overnight bus each way. I think 12 hours and it goes to towns that aren’t even as cool as Colonia. The ferry is by far the better option IMHO.
The subway here is nice and convenient and pretty easy to traverse. Depending on which station you go to you may have to search to be able to obtain a card to put credits on. The first two times I tried to enter I was turned away at the booth when I tried to purchase trips because I didn’t already have a card. I think some stores sell them on the street; I still haven’t figured it all out on that front.
The Ferry to Colonial del Sacramento Uruguay: there are two companies. I checked all the deal sites and the cheapest round trip was $84US. I went directly to the companies site www.colonialexpress.com and got a round trip for $65.50US. The bus is $35US each way and is an overnight bus each way. The ferry is by far the better option.
Mundo: stopped in for a hot chocolate and some flan. The flan came with a side of canela. A strong dessert game. Has both indoor and outdoor seating a nice place to take a coffee. Fast friendly service. Don’t remember the price, however it wasn’t crazy.
El Stablo: steakhouse that came highly recommended by some very experienced reviewers on yelp. It appears yelp is fairly new in this area; however I find it easier to use and more accurate than TripAdvisor. One comment was that it was better than Don Julio’s. (Which is supposedly the standard for comparison here in BA. I later found out he got famous for a single cut of steak that he apparently uses the Sous-Vide method for cooking to keep it tender and flavorful). Now I haven’t been to Don Julio’s. It’s supposed to be the best. The atmosphere was quite nice with a big wooden carved bar with a few tables packed in around it with big picturesque windows with curtains covering the bottom half. Waiters were all dressed nice and almost in a cliche way of a steak restaurant of this sort. I got a little excited as I sat down at one of the only tables left open. I ordered a nice wine and took the waiters recommendation on the appetizer, salad, and steak. The appetizer was beef tongue in vinaigrette with chopped pickled veggies. It was quite tasty and came in a large portion almost too large for 1 person. I had ordered the smaller salad with fresh palm hearts. It also was really good and I think the freshest palm hearts I can remember ever tasting. I didn’t get 1/4 through my salad when the steak was brought out. I really don’t care for nice restaurants that either are oblivious to when to put in the main course or are trying to rush you out the door. However, it didn’t seem like they were trying to rush me it’s just how it’s done in BA. Other than this fact the service was impeccable. So, I put my salad aside and dug into the steak. It was tasty, tender and cooked just how I ordered it. However, the flavor was average at best. I had stayed in for dinner the night before at the hostel. One of the owners came and did an Argentinian BBQ for us for 300 pesos. (Described in detail above) It was a 5 course meal with 4 of them being meat. That dinner blew this one out of the water and needless to say it was a bit more expensive almost 6 times more expensive. There was a lot on the menu I didn’t try and the place was packed on a Tuesday night I’m sure for a good reason; my experience was just average though. Whole 3 course meal with a full bottle of nice wine $1700AP
Bocanada: fantastic empanadas I had the classic beef and the cheese and onion. Had a takeout deal for 2 empanadas and a drink for $125AP pesos. I made the block to get one more round they were so tasty.
Pizzeria Guerrin: a bustling pizza joint that seems to be constantly slammed serving slices as fast as they can rotate in the door. I recommend the neopolitana and the mozzarella. The onion one didn’t come with sauce. Kind of weird. There’s always a line however it moves fast as some sit and eat and others stand around the big bar and eat then leave. Just a face paced good snack or entire lunch. 2-3 slices should fill you up. 3 slices came to $148
Pani: stopped in for a coffee and dessert. Had the cappuccino and the Floriquita dessert. The slice of cake was HUGE, really rich and delicious. I couldn’t even finish my portion despite it being absolutely delicious. Nice atmosphere with plenty of tables and seating with prompt friendly service and big picturesque windows. Looks like the women love this place as there was hardly a seat open for what seemed like table after table of women sitting and chatting. They have a full food menu that looked appealing; just wasn’t ready for another full meal just yet. I recommend this place on San Martin if you’re in the neighborhood. Cappuccino ran about $120 and the pie set me back $300.
Old Beijing: wow! What can I say the reviews and the food did not disappoint. They actually had hot and sour soup that tasted good. First, you never see that on a menu out here and 2nd if you so it’s a weak attempt. I’m not saying it’s the best I ever had; however it was a good attempt and they brought me a quite sizable bowl. I think it could have easily been shared between 4 people. The place is small maybe 9 tables and seemed to be run by an elderly Asian couple. Sweet as can be and she cooked up a heck of a kung pao Chicken. The best Asian food I’ve had since I left the states. Easily a 5 star rating by any standards. If you’re in the mood for Chinese food I’d aim to get over to Old Beijing. Huge bowl of soup, main course with rice $700 pesos.
Bar Du Marchè: I tried the following wines here. Krontiras (organic Malbec) mild and smooth Bodegas Krontiras, Mendoza; padrillos fruity and a little dry. (Pinot noir Ernesto Catena Vineyards, Mendoza) Amalaya Rosado de Malbec-Torrontes (Bodega Amalaya, Salta) a house blend. Ordered the menu del dia ($320 pesos) which came with a spinach soup, small salad, a main course, a glass of wine and a dessert or expresso. Quite the deal for the fancy atmosphere they had to off. The soup was quite hearty and delicious just what I was looking for coming in out of the brisk BA air. The main course was an egg tart with tomatoes with a lettuce salad. The tart needed some salt; was fine after that. And it came with a small glass of the house wine Amalaya. All quite tasty with a very pleasant atmosphere with large tall windows on a charming street corner in Palermo. The extra glasses of wine were $150 pesos each. Sitting from my seat I spotted a sign a block away that said ‘wine bar’ which oddly enough I had looked for, expected and yet had not found yet in Argentina. Needless to say, I went straight there and sampled some of Argentina’s finest.
Salumeria Wine Bar very nice place tucked away on a charming street lined with lots of trees I have to imagine would be a little prettier without all the leaves missing in winter. What can I say, I ordered samples 7 to be exact then finished with a glass of my two favorites. Went ahead and ordered a cheese plate because what’s a wine tasting afternoon for if you can’t indulge a little. The Argentinian wines were cheap 30-45AP for a sample. The Chilean wines jumped in price to 150AP per sample. Needless to say it was a fantastic afternoon. I won’t bore you here with my simplistic wine descriptions. Just go and try for yourself.
Parrilla Peña: I decided to get one more steak before leaving BA. This place has a $$ rating with 4.5 star rating on yelp with great reviews. So did El Stablo though! Anyway I had a good feeling about the place so I hopped on the subway to traverse the mile to the place. Normally I’d walk and take in some more of the city, but I’m leaving the next day and still had some cash left on the old subway card. I arrived around 2pm on a Saturday. Downstairs dining was completely packed. They directed me to one of the 3 upstairs dining rooms. It too was pretty crowded however they found a table for me. Miguel was my waiter and immediately handed me a menu and offered his recommendations. There was already bread on every table. I ordered a house salad, a half bottle of wine and the ribeye. Service here was extremely fast and efficient. Promptly I was brought a starter empanada that apparently comes with every order a side of red chimichurri and some cut up onions, carrots, and bell peppers in an oil and vinegar sauce. Both went quite well with the absolutely delicious empanada. I’m not sure what it was filled with yet if the salad and steak hadn’t come out so fast I would have asked for 5 more. Wow, the dough was perfect as well. Anyway, the salad was onion, tomato and arugula with salt, oil, and a touch of balsamic vinegar. I saw Miguel doctor it up right next to me at his station. It was a lot of salad and only added $180AP to the bill. Again, just as at El Stablo the steak and fries come rushing out after just a few bites of salad. This time I finished a good portion of the salad first as it was quite tasty then dug into the steak. It was seared well and cooked just to order and was a hefty portion and very tender and juicy. I found it a little bland; so I added a few heaping tablespoons of the left over chimichurri sauce and it made everything perfect. A very pleasant experience overall and I would highly recommend a visit here especially for the reasonable price and high quality; that is compared to some other choices in town. $1050AP before tip.